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MINISTRY NOTIFIES RIGHTS OF OVERSEAS CITIZENS OF INDIA (OCI)

March 6, 2021

On March 04, 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs, issued a Notification[1] specifying  the rights to which an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder shall be entitled to. The Notification has been issued under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act 1955[2], which confers powers on the Central Government for determining Rights of the OCI.

Changes Introduced

Basis 2021 Notification 2005 Notification
Residential Status The OCI cardholder (including PIO Cardholder) is a foreign national holding passport of a foreign country, He is not a citizen of India.[3] The OCI cardholder is as an NRI, with respect to all facilities available to them: economic, financial and educational fields.[4]
Registration with Foreign Regional Registration 1.      Exemption from registration

2.      OCI cardholders who are NORMALLY resident of India shall intimate about the change in permanent residential address.

Exemption from registration for any length of stay in India.
Multiple Entry Lifelong Visa 1.The OCI are entitled to multiple entry lifelong visa for visiting India for any purpose.[5]

2.This grant is subject to the requirement of special permission or special permit for other purposes such as:

v  research;

v   to undertake any Missionary, Tabligh, Mountaineering or Journalistic activities;

v  to undertake internship in any foreign Diplomatic Missions or Foreign Government organisations, or to take up employment at any foreign Diplomatic Missions in India;

v  to visit any place that are protected, restricted, prohibited areas.[6]

The OCI are entitled to grant of multiple entry lifelong visa for visiting India for any purpose. They do not require any special permission or special permit for other purposes.[7]
  2021 Notification 2009 Notification
All India Entrance Exams The OCI are at parity with NRIs for appearing in any:

1.       all India entrance such as NEET or JEE(Mains)  or JEE(Advanced)

2.       The admission can only against any Non-Resident Indian seat or any supernumerary seat. The  OCI cardholder is not eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens.[8]

The OCI are at parity with NRIs to take any:

1.      all India Pre Medical test or such other test,

2.      However, there is no restriction as to the admission against any seat was imposed.[9]

 

Tariffs The OCI are at parity with Indian Nationals[10]

1.       tariffs for air fares in domestic sectors and entry fees  for visiting national parks, wildlife etc.

The OCI are at parity with NRI in relation to

Entry fees  for visiting national monuments in India.[11]

  2021 Notification 2007 Notification
Adoption Subject to the compliance of the procedure as laid down by the competent authority, the status of OCI is at par with NRI for inter-country adoption of Indian children.[12] The status of OCI was at par with NRI for inter-country adoption of Indian children without any restriction of procedure laid down by any other authority.[13]

Explanation

It would be relevant to mention here that by virtue of the 2021 Notification[14], an OCI Cardholder shall have same rights and privileges as a foreigner. Also, the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) shall have the same meaning as assigned in FEMA (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India) Regulations, 2018 and as covered in the Income Tax Act, 1961.

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[1] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 4th March 2021 (Accessed 09.03.21, 11:52 AM) http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2021/225647.pdf (“Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 2021”).

[2] The Citizenship Act, 1955, Section 7B, No. 57, Acts of Parliament 1955 (India).

[3] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 4th March 2021 (Accessed 09.03.21, 11:52 AM) http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2021/225647.pdf (“Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 2021”).

[4] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 11th April 2005 (Accessed 09.03.21, 12:11 PM) https://www.mea.gov.in/images/pdf/5oci-2005.pdf.

[5] §1, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 2021.

[6] Id.

[7] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 11th April 2005 (Accessed 09.03.21, 12:11 PM) https://www.mea.gov.in/images/pdf/5oci-2005.pdf.

[8] §4(ii), Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 2021.

[9] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 5th January 2009 (Accessed 09.03.21, 12:13 PM) https://www.mea.gov.in/images/pdf/2oci-notifi2009.pdf.

[10] §3, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 2021.

[11] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 5th January 2009 (Accessed 09.03.21, 12:13 PM) https://www.mea.gov.in/images/pdf/2oci-notifi2009.pdf.

[12] §4(i), Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 2021.

[13] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 5th January 2007 (Accessed 09.03.21, 12:12 PM) https://www.mea.gov.in/images/pdf/4oci-notification.pdf.

[14] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 4th March 2021 (Accessed 09.03.21, 11:52 AM) http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2021/225647.pdf (“Ministry of Home Affairs Notification, 2021”).

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